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Namoli Brennet: We Were Born to Rise (Flaming Dame)

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Tucson singer-songwriter Namoli Brennet's impeccable ninth album places her firmly among the best folk-rock artists in the country. It's sophisticated, witty, well-written and beautifully recorded. Brennet recorded almost every instrument herself in her home studio; drummer Todd Chuba sits behind the drum kit on three tracks.

It's a gorgeous, adult album, with rich emotions and insightful lyrics, at times not unlike the work of, say, Rosanne Cash or Mary Chapin Carpenter, but with a perceptible edge.

The opening track, "Adeline," is a midtempo charmer with atmospheric guitar and an assertive organ escort. "Isn't That Enough" and "Better to Grow" exert a lush folk-pop vibe not unlike that of Fleetwood Mac. Here, it becomes obvious that Brennet's voice actually recalls the sublime middle harmonic sound created by the intertwining vocals of Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham.

Her intoxicating spin on urban folk includes the funky rapport of organ, handclaps and bass on "Settle Down," the burbling keyboards of "Flightless Birds," and the brisk, chiming guitar part in the impassioned "Just to Be Loved."

"Fall Away" builds up to rockin', neo-bluegrass-influenced sweat, with a slight French-café effect thanks to jabs of melodica. If you doubted Brennet's vision, it's clear here as she sings: "I am just a messenger / it is my blessing and my curse / to see these things before they come to pass."

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